michael payne on lgbtq issues

Political Candidate Q&A: Michael Payne on LGBTQ Issues

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Michael Payne is running for a spot on the Charlottesville City Council. Primary elections will take place Tuesday, June 11. Don’t forget to vote!


Q: Do you consider yourself to be an LGBTQ ally? Why/why not?

Yes, I consider myself to be an ally of the LGBTQ community. As
elected officials, we are failing in our responsibility to represent
the city if we don’t use local government to support and give greater
visibility to Charlottesville’s LGBTQ community. I view my role as
following the lead of Charlottesville’s LGBTQ community and uplifting
the work they’ve been engaged in for decades.

Q: As an elected official, what role will you play or push your elected body to play in promoting the safety and wellness of LGBTQ people who are parents, children, homeless, of color, disabled, tourists, new to the area?

As a city councilor, a top priority for me would be raising
Charlottesville’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI) score. The MEI is an
annual ranking put together by the Human Rights Commission that
measures how much a city supports LGBTQ issues. Some specific policies
Charlottesville should adopt include: transgender-inclusive healthcare
benefits for city employees; having an LGBTQ police liaison as part of
the Civilian Police Review Board; and having a LGBTQ liaison to the
community as part of city government.

I’d also use my platform as a city councilor to fight for full
equality for LGBTQ people under the law — state law still allows for
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity,
and as a city we must openly challenge those laws.

Q. Are you safe-space trained and, if not, are you willing to be and to push your fellow officials, staff, and partners to get trained, along with trainings in implicit bias and bystander training addressing race and gender issues that also affect members of the LGBTQ community?

I have not yet received formal safe-space training, but I am
committed to attending a SafeCville training in addition to implicit
bias and bystander trainings. I support having members of every city
department receive safe-space, implicit bias, and bystander training.

Q: What else do you want the local LGBTQ community to know about you?

I am committed to supporting a fully intersectional LGBTQ movement.
City council can’t become complacent — we have to acknowledge past
failures such as the city’s response to Sage Smith’s missing person
case, uplift and support the work being done in the LGBTQ community,
and continue to implement new policies that make Charlottesville a
more inclusive community.

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